ABB switchgear to support airport expansion in Saudi Arabia’s capital

December 18, 2017 - ABB gas-insulated switchgear to enable reliable power supply for King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh

King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, handled 12 million passengers annually when it was inaugurated in the 1980s. Today, there are more than 22 million passengers each year travelling through the airport – equivalent to the population of Australia! This number is expected to rise further and the airport is currently being expanded to meet this passenger demand.

The expansion is an important element of the country’s Vision 2030, which aims to boost private sector investment and position Saudi Arabia as a global hub connector for Asia, Europe and Africa. Reliable supply of power will play a critical role to ensure that areas such as air traffic control, runway management and baggage operations are handled smoothly and safely.

Saudi Services for Electro Mechanic Works, an Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) company has been contracted to construct a substation for the country’s leading power utility, Saudi Electricity Company. ABB has in turn been entrusted with the design, supply and commissioning of the 380 kilovolt gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) that will form the heart of the substation. ABB’s GIS is an extremely compact solution that reduces environmental impact and offers increased reliability and safety.

“ABB’s best-in-class compact and robust GIS technology is ideally suited for such applications and will help enhance power transmission capacity to serve the needs of this airport expansion,” said Giandomenico Rivetti, Managing Director of ABB’s High Voltage Products business unit in ABB’s Power Grids division. “We have an extensive track record in the region and are pleased to deploy our technologies to provide a reliable energy supply and facilitate grid expansion to support the country’s economic vision.”

The switchgear controls and protects the network from system faults that may occur in a power system. This could be caused by various reasons, such as lightning strikes, short circuits or other disruptions that could potentially lead to network failure. GIS is a compact and metal encapsulated insulating gas solution, and can be safely operated in confined spaces and harsh environments.

ABB’s GIS has been improving electricity transmission in Saudi Arabia forthe past four decades. Amongst the several installations in the region, it has been deployed in the Gulf Grid project, which links the electricity networks of six Gulf states, as well as the Haramain high-speed railway project that connects the pilgrimage cities of Mecca, Medina and Jeddah.

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